Friday, 3 August 2012

Practice makes perfect: Liverpool and the Europa League

Practice makes perfect, practice makes perfect.

And boy, didn’t Thursday night prove Liverpool need practice? Liverpool in simple terms, were very lucky to get a win. At times, it looked liked a draw was an injustice to Gomel.

The game reinforced how much work is to be done at Anfield.

Anyone you speak to about Liverpool, they will always use one particular word to describe Rodgers and The Reds. The word people continuously use is ‘time’.


Liverpool need time to adapt to their new game. And Rodgers needs time to build a framework, a structure and a methodology for the Liverpool boys to adapt to this new passing game.

But, as always, the Europa League is perceived by many as a drain, a headache and ultimately a worthless cup. To some clubs that maybe to true, but for Liverpool the cons are outweighed by the pros.

The reality is simple for Liverpool. If they are to quickly instil this passing game at Anfield, they will need practice. And with many things in life, whether it’s learning how to drive, or to play pool or to even have sexy time, you need practice to be good at it. The Europa League offers games in abundance for Liverpool to practice, perfect and polish off their new system.

The Europa will teach Liverpool so much about the side and be an indicator of their development. The competition will allow Liverpool’s style to be tested by teams of different approaches, quality and environments. In some respects, the variation in opponents will help Rodgers find weaknesses and strengths in the philosophy and his players.

Furthermore, with the Europa League having so many games, it will allow Rodgers to shuffle his pack, learn more about his players, explore the mentality of them and fully assess how strong the depth of his squad is.

And look, passing football demands the most fluid, coherent and cohesive teams. And at the moment Liverpool aren’t any of those things.

But by playing two games a week, it will offer Liverpool the chance to work on becoming more fluent and more cohesive.

It’s simple, the way for a team to become more fluid is by developing an understanding. And the way to develop an understanding is by playing different teams and testing yourself.

It’s an equation Liverpool have to fulfil if they want to be successful under Rodgers. The Europa League probably will make the Liverpool players tired, it probably will effect their Champions League pursuit. But it’s far more important the Liverpool players are fully immersed into the system so that the players play in a fluent, fluid and functional passing side.

As at the end of the day, if Liverpool have a fixed identity, it will make the team far more united and harder to break down. And when a team have a fixed concentrated identity, success tends to follow.

Thursday night proved Liverpool have stacks of work to do. Liverpool need practice. The Europa League offers that in abundance. It’s up to the Liverpool players to take up the chance.

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